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Owen Coyle: Don’t have to try anything different against Mumbai City

The Chennaiyin FC boss wants his team to aim for three points when they play against Mumbai City FC…

Chennaiyin FC coach Owen Coyle exuded confidence ahead of his team’s crucial game against Mumbai City FC on Friday evening.

While it is a must-win game for the Islanders, the southern side can afford to drop two points but then would have to beat NorthEast United FC in their final league game of the season.

Coyle heaped praise on Mumbai City FC and their coach Jorge Costa but mentioned that his team will approach the tie with the same vigour as has been the case all throughout his short tenure at Chennai.

“In terms of fighting for our lives, we have been doing that for three months. Since I came to the club everybody thought we had no chance. We have been in pressure to win the last 10 games. That’s why we play to win, and not draw. The effort and energy they put in, it has been a joy to work with them We want to play big games.

“It’s a game between two very good teams. Mumbai is a great team with a good coach. We will play to win as we will be in the playoffs then with a game to spare. We have worked hard to get here and now we have to see that we finish our job. We are ready for the challenge. This is what the business end of seasons brings to you, exciting games. They also know that a win tomorrow and they can be in the playoffs. So there is so much to play for,” said Coyle.

The former Bolton coach was questioned on whether they would look to make the most of Mumbai’s leaky defence and gaps in the middle of the park which have emerged since the injury to Paulo Machado.

“I hope that’s the case tomorrow. We are not one dimensional. We have many facets to our game. We have a fantastic captain (Lucian Goian). He has set such high standards. Eli (Sabia) has been outstanding. We have a number of players who we count on.

“Then obviously there is (Nerijus) Vlaskis and (Rafael) Crivellaro on top to provide us that quality upfront. We have good individual players but our strength is we play as a group. That will probably see us through. Whether they leave spaces or not, we have to find that and exploit them. We stood up against ATK and we showed our quality. We have to do that again tomorrow,” he replied.

Coyle stated that the idea is to not try anything different from what has worked for them so far. Chennaiyin FC are in a good run of form and Coyle hopes that they can continue in the same vein on Friday.

“We don’t have to try anything different. We have been winning games by doing the same things. Tomorrow is about playing the game, it is not about the occasion. We have to make sure that we are able to do the things that have brought us here through hard work and dedication. Then the quality fits in. Not the other way around.

“Many players can feature in the Indian national team. They have a very good coach in Igor Stimac. They will improve under him and (India will) move up the rankings. Big players, whom I call match winners, stand up for these occasions. Hope they will stand up and win us the game,” he expressed his thoughts.

Under Coyle, Chennaiyin FC have undergone a dramatic change in fortunes as from being placed in the ninth position, the club has managed to stay in contention for a berth in the play-offs.

“I am one coach who will tell the players to focus on what is to come and not what is behind you. We got four goals in six games. We played four of them at home. So there was a battery of away fixtures ahead of us. If we had concentrated to pick up a point here and there, it would not have been enough to move up.

“We had to get the best out of our team and get three points. Every player responded with high intensity. We have been dynamic going forward and at the same time minimizing risk at the back. So we want our two forwards to express themselves in the most difficult part of the pitch. I am enjoying what my team is playing. I enjoyed it against ATK. (Roy) Krishna, Edu (Garcia) are fantastic players. So collectively, we have to get a positive result tomorrow,” he mentioned.

FC Goa have topped the league stage of the ISL and have booked a berth in the Asian Champions League (ACL) next season. Coyle opined that Goa have a lot of talent in their squad and do play an entertaining brand of football.

“I am delighted for FC Goa. They have a lovely way of playing. It shows the quality of talent they have, the mentality they have. We wish them really well. It is deserving as they have been very consistent for the past five months,” he signed off.

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